Researchers in Japan on August 26 said low concentrations of ozone can neutralise particles of the coronavirus. This is being seen as a potential way for hospitals to disinfect examination rooms and waiting areas.
Scientists at the Fujita Health University informed a news conference that they had proven that ozone gas in concentrations of 0.05 to 0.1 parts per million (ppm) could kill the virus. These levels considered harmless to humans. Ozone is a type of oxygen molecule which is known to inactivate many pathogens.
They used an ozone generator in a sealed chamber with a sample of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The experiment showed that the virus’ potency had declined by over 90 percent when subjected to low-level ozone for 10 hours.
“Transmission of the novel coronavirus may be reduced by continuous, low-concentration ozone treatment, even in environments where people are present, using this kind of system,” lead researcher Takayuki Murata said. “We found it to be particularly effective in high-humidity conditions.”
Another study at the Georgia Institute of Technology had recently shown that ozone may be effective in disinfecting medical protective equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The announcement comes at a time when the global COVID-19 tally has crossed 2.41 crore, including 8.24 lakh deaths.(With inputs from Reuters)